rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

With friends like Neil Brown, does Jim Prentice need enemies?

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Neil Brown

With friends like Neil Brown, does Jim Prentice need enemies?

Dr. Brown, QC, is a lawyer and PhD biologist, so while he is not actually a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon, he is presumably a fairly smart guy.

Prentice is a lawyer, corporate lobbyist, former bank vice-president and former federal cabinet minister with a record of success in that role, so he's presumably a pretty smart guy too.

The latter is a candidate for the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party, a job that will automatically bring with it the premiership of the province of Alberta … at least for a little while.

The former is a member of the Alberta Legislature for the same Alberta PC Party and is in possession of something Prentice needs, but maybe doesn't want just yet, thank you very much. To wit: a seat in the Alberta Legislature.

So I can't imagine that Prentice was really all that pleased to read on the Edmonton Sun's website yesterday that Brown is offering up his seat in Calgary for the heir apparent to the leadership of the PC Party. The offer is sure to be in the paper this morning.

"If Jim approached me and said he wanted to run in my riding, it would be a slam dunk for me," Brown told the Sun's Legislative reporter, Matt Dykstra.

Now, it's not entirely clear who called whom, or why. Perhaps Brown was looking for a way out of the panic-stricken snakepit the PC caucus has become under the misrule of former premier Alison Redford and since. More likely Dykstra was calling all the known Prentice endorsers in the caucus and asking the same question, just to see whether anyone was silly enough to bite. Or maybe Dykstra wanted to talk to Brown in particular because his provincial riding shares territory with Prentice's former federal constituency.

At any rate, the story made it clear Brown and Prentice have not actually discussed the idea. No surprise there!

Regardless, you can count on it that an offer like this is not what Prentice wants to hear just now.

For one thing, he may still be the acknowledged frontrunner in the race to replace Premier pro tempore Dave Hancock, but his success is far from a sure thing -- and seems less so now that PC membership sales are apparently flagging badly. So right from the get-go, any talk about Prentice running in Brown's Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill Riding is wildly premature.

For another, it's not entirely clear Prentice could win in Calgary, or anywhere else -- at least without the boost of an overwhelming leadership vote victory. Indeed, right now there may be no safe riding anywhere in Alberta for a provincial PC leader.

In Calgary itself, there seems to be plenty of support for candidate Ric McIver, and for Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith. But for Prentice? Maybe not so much. Which is why, of course, the campaign-sponsored rumours of late have had him running in an Edmonton riding when the general election rolls around.

If he wins the leadership, Prentice may very well want to lead the party from the sidelines for a spell, rather than engage in a suicidal by-election while the memory of Alison Redford is fresh in voters' memories. Such things are do-able in our Parliamentary system.

So what he doesn't need just now is the well-meaning likes of Brown saying that stepping aside to make way for a potentially fatal by-election would be "a no brainer," and moreover that "I'm sure there are probably other MLAs in Calgary who would to the same thing for him." I'll bet there are at that!

Spokespeople for the Wildrose Opposition, which is strong in Calgary as noted, will be delighted, I am sure, to loudly urge Prentice to take Brown up on his offer, and as soon as possible.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.